Study: Only six of the 1,300 best films in 2007-2019 featured an Asia / Pacific woman lead or co-star


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This year, he became Chloé Zhao Most award-winning directors in one award season And make history like First Asian woman to win an Oscar for Best Director. Stephen Yoon was the first Asian American to receive a nomination for Best Actor, and his co-star in the movie Minari Yuh-Jung Youn won the Best Supporting Actress award, becoming the second Asian actress to win an Oscar, and the first since 1957. New report From Dr. Nancy Wang Yuen, Dr. Stacy L Smith, and the USC Annenberg Inclusion initiative, she explains that the industry is still far from a fair place for the Asia Pacific Island (API) community.

Analyze the API community representation, on both sides of the camera, across 1,300 best movies from 2007 to 2019, Population of the Asia-Pacific Islands Spread and Depiction Through 1,300 Popular Films Arrives in the middle of the month of Asian American and Pacific Islander heritage, and in the wake of mounting violence against Asians in the United States

7.1 percent of the US population is known as API, yet only 5.9 percent of the 1,300 movies with 5,1159 characters speak are API. Two-thirds of the movies fail to meet the proportional API representation, and 39 percent of them do not contain API characters. Looking separately, 40.2 percent of the movies don’t have Asian characters, and 94.2 percent don’t have Pacific Islander characters.

Only 44 movies (3.4 percent) featured an API lead or co-lead role, and an API woman led or co-led only six films. Yes, you read this correctly but it is very shameful to repeat it: Only six of the best films since 2007 feature a woman from Asia or the Pacific Islands. These leaders / leaders participating in the API consist of 22 men and four women. The latter are Constance Wu, Hailee Steinfeld, Olli Cravallio, and Chloe Bennett. Wu and Steinfeld both starred in two films, while Cravalho and Bennet both starred in one. Overall, women only accounted for a third of the API’s characters.

“People often ask me if the representations of Asian Americans and the Pacific Islands are improving,” Yuen said. “Unfortunately, when the representation appears symbolic, Hollywood does the bare minimum for inclusion. In 2019, 30% of the primary and secondary characters of an API were either one of the only characters or interacted with no other API characters on the screen. Seeing more than one API character on the screen interacting with each other in useful ways.

Credit: USC Annenberg

Segmenting the data further, only 15 characters of the API in the best movies from 2014-2019 were LGBTQ, and none of them were transgender. Less than 2% of the API characters in the best movies from 2015-2019 were portrayed as having a disability. Only 19.6 percent of all female API characters were aged 40 or over. The authors concluded that “the image of the API’s characters is predominantly young, mostly masculine, straight, and physically capable”.

When API characters are included on the screen, they are often labeled, coded, or victimized. “ The stereotypes that still exist in the best films include the continuous castration of API men – 58% were shown without romantic partners compared to 37.5% of API women without partners – in addition to that of the permanent alien, as evidenced by non-American dialects and the use of a language other than English, according to the study. “Most disturbingly, the portrayal of API characters continues to encompass violence, death, and belittlement.”

Credit: USC Annenberg

“With the escalation of violence against AAPI in the United States, the on-screen deaths of Asians and Pacific Islanders are especially disturbing,” Yuen said. “In the Top 100 Movies of 2019, just over a quarter of the characters in Asia and the Pacific Islands die by the end of the film, and all but one violent finishes. This, along with 41.8 percent of the API characters that receive underestimation on screen – Some are racist slurs – movies can fuel hate against AAPI. “With more than 6,603 incidents of hate reported to stop AAPI Hate from March 19, 2020 to March 31, 2021, Hollywood needs to take responsibility for the problematic representation of Asians and Pacific Islanders.”

The numbers behind the scenes are frustrating, too. Only 3.5 percent of 1,447 directors across 1,300 top movies were from API. Forty-seven of these API directive approvals were held by men and three by women. Jennifer Yeoh Nelson worked on “Kung Fu Panda” and Loughlin Tandan co-directed “Slumdog Millionaire”. Zero API women are credited as the only director of the highest paying live business image between 2007 and 2019.

“Not a single API woman has taken the credit for directing the highest-grossing feature film in the last 13 years,” Smith emphasized. “The inclusion of the API community has so far been nothing more than just talk. Opening the behind-the-camera opportunity for the API community and in particular for API women, is essential to seeing more realistic and humane images on screen.”

Credit: USC Annenberg

Meanwhile, 2.5 percent of the producers in the 13-year sample were API, as well as 3.3 percent of directors. The authors note: “However, the influence of API creators is undeniable.” “Films with API directors or API producers have had more APIs / leads than those with directors or off-the-scenes producers. API directors and directors were also responsible for selecting more API talents in on-screen speaking roles than managers Not affiliated with the API or the directors. “

“In order to reconcile past mischief, concealment and stereotypes on the screen, we first need to confront hard facts and data,” said Latasha Gillespie of Amazon Studios, who helped fund the report. “This study is an opportunity for all content creators and media companies to examine any root cause decisions that have contributed to our current situation, but more importantly, drive ongoing accountability in our work.”

Read the full report “Population of Asia and the Pacific Island Spread and Filmed through 1,300 Popular Films” Here. Other findings and research from Yuen will be presented at Voices: API representation in movies and media On May 20. Registration for the default event is now open.


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